Istanbul: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments around the world to live up to longstanding international treaty obligations to publish timely and thorough aviation accident reports. “Safety is aviation’s highest priority,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said at a media briefing here Tuesday.
Failure to publish prompt and complete accident investigation reports deprives operators, equipment manufacturers, regulators, infrastructure providers and other stakeholders concerned of critical information that could make flying even safer.
“The accident investigation process is one of our most important learning tools when building global safety standards. But to learn from an accident, we need reports that are complete, accessible and timely,” Walsh noted.
He said the requirements of the Convention of International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) Annex 13 are “clear”.
Walsh said states in charge of an accident investigation must submit a preliminary report to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) within 30 days of the accident, publish the final report, which is publicly available, as soon as possible and within 12 months of the accident.
They must also publish interim statements annually should a final report not be possible within 12 months.
Only 96 of the 214 accident investigations during the period 2018-2022 conform with the requirements of the Chicago Convention, Walsh noted.
Just 31 reports were published in less than one year of the accident with the majority (58) taking between one to three years. In addition to the fact that final reports regularly take more than a year, interim statements often provide little more than what was presented in the preliminary report.
“Over the past five years, fewer than half of the required accident reports meet the standards for thoroughness and timeliness. This is an inexcusable violation of requirements stated clearly in the Chicago Convention.
“As an industry we must raise our voice to governments in defence of the accident investigation process enshrined in Annex 13. And we count on ICAO to remind states that the publication of a complete accident report is not optional, it is an obligation under Annex 13 of the Chicago Convention,” Walsh added.
Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), speaks during IATA annual meeting in Istanbul. REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya